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2 Jul 2012

Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

Roth is very much a straight to the point author.  As soon as Insurgent starts we are right where the first book ended and the journey continues.  I liked that because sometimes I start sequels where there's a lot of reminding the readers about the last book and the narrator just navel-gazing, deep in their thoughts and explaining every single problem they have that began in the first book.  No, we're straight into the action with Insurgent and the action itself just keeps coming.  It's a very fast paced book, right in the middle of a war, and while it may be too fast for some readers I didn't really mind it.  I thought the pace fitted well into the situation.  And personally, I've always liked fast pace.  I'm a straight to the point kind of person so I never mind it when my reading books are.  I'm not a fan of waffling.  But, just as a warning, it may feel rushed to some.

We get to see Amity and Candor this time around.  A lot of more of Erudite too and I loved it.  It's very much about Dauntless, Abnegation, and Erudite in the first book so I was pleased to get insight into the other two factions and see how they live and slowly become involved in a war that was very personal to start off with.  The battle is growing and Amity and Candor are forced to get involved.  It was interesting to see what their reactions would be and how they would act.  I like the pace of Roth's world-building.  It's been gradual throughout the two books and she doesn't fall victim to info-dumping which I think can be a problem in writing fantasies and sci-fi.  So much world and so little books... how do you fit it all in? Not a problem with Roth.

The war itself brings in more questions about the nature of Chicago and why this war is starting.  I had my ponderings and did have my suspicions so when the answers came, I found my theories were right.  So again, be warned.  The twists may be a little predictable.  But it opens up more questions that I can't wait to be answered in the third book.  And can I just say... the ending? God, I just want more! Roth is turning me into a very impatient reader! I read these first two books back to back and was absolutely hooked so I'm having trouble accepting the fact that I have to wait a year.  Another warning? You may be hooked.  And you may be already ticking the days off the calender.

Again, just like the first book there are deaths of loved characters and the author is not afraid to be brutal and merciless.  Sacrifices are made, loved characters die, and it breaks your heart.  I care about so many of them and while I want them all to be happy and safe I have to remind myself that, in the end, it's a war.  People are fighting to save their society and it's realistic for the good and the bad to die.  It's what should happen really if you write something like this.  I would have been frustrated if no-one died and they all miraculously survived everything.

The author doesn't shy away from brutality and heartless antagonists. Some people really suck and they're vile. Dangerous and evil. I love it. No villains here who can't walk the walk. Just when you think Tris and Four have more people on their side the Erudtie jerks are one step ahead and ready to attack. Events continue to get worse. Just when you think the antagonist has gone, another one steps up. Watch out for anyone in these books. People seem to snap so easily and change.  The people who you don't expect it from can easily turn traitor.  Yes I'm looking at you, specific character.  I'm not that fond of you at the moment.

Pete still remains to be a character I want to punch, slap, chuck off a cliff etc.  But he's interesting in this book.  More layers and it's unclear to know which side he's actually on.  I think this could make for some good twists and a good sub-plot.  It'll be interesting to see where he actually ends up and I'm glad Roth has kept him on.  Looking forward to seeing where he's going in the final book.

The issues I did have surrounded Tris and Four's relationship.  I liked it in the first book because their attraction developed slowly and there was a little bit of drama that quickly got resolved.  In this one, I felt there was too much drama and ocassionally too much focus on their issues.  I wasn't a big fan of them this time and I hope that they both learned a lesson from mistrusting each other otherwise I don't think I can be convinced that they should be together.  I hope they've moved on in the third book and more comfortable with each other in the relationship so we'll see.  I won't make a final judgement until the next book comes out.

As for Tris herself, she continues to keep fighting even though you can tell it's all getting to her.  The actual experience of having to fight and kill people she knows has broken her which shows that she still has vulnerabilities, mentally and physically.  She has instinct and always sticks to it, never letting anyone else decide for her.  She knows her own mind and I like that she's willing and determined to stand up for herself and have so much trust in her own gut.  I didn't mind the lying and sneaking around Tobias because he just didn't seem to listen and she had her own reasons for getting involved with this battle.  There's more to this war and she's going to reveal it.  I like that she's a thinker and sees more to this than personal dislike of factions.  I absolutely love Tris.  My favourite heroine by far.

Overall, despite the relationship issue I still want to give this book 5 stars.  I'm waiting to see what the final book will bring in Tris and Four's relationship and honestly it was the only thing I had a problem with.  The rest of the book was fantastic and had me hooked.  It just gets better and better and I can't wait for next year.  Seriously, to all of you out there who haven't read it.  Buy it and read it! These ones are definitely must reads!

Next week I'm going to take a small break from reviewing and get back to writing posts.  I've caught up with the majority of the books I've read so I can just back away from reviewing them for a little while.  When I do get back to reviewing, I'll be starting with The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E.Smith. (I might continue with this 'I'm reviewing next' note.  Think it's any good? And link to the review on here as well when I've done it?)


  1. I thought INSURGENT was oh-so-slightly better than DIVERGENT. The pacing was right for the story (IMO), and there were twists in some unexpected places--and with some unexpected characters. And I totally agree with you about the ending. Talk about cliffhanger...! :)

    The old James Bond movies used to end the closing credits with "Bond Will Return in..." and then the title of the next movie. I suggest you adopt that with your reviews: "The Nook Reviews Will Return with... THE STATISTICAL PROBABILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT"! Sounds dramatic, doesn't it? :)

  2. Sequels are hard. There's so much pressure on being just as good as the first one, drawing in the same readers just as much, and I think Roth did well here. Brilliant debut, brilliant sequel. Definitely someone to learn from.

    And, Colin, that sounds pretty cool! =D Maybe I should turn reviews in vlogs and have a dramatic 'to be continued' with the next review title lol!